The UCStrategies Experts share their expertise in bylined articles, opinion pieces, blogs, and podcasts, to define unified communications, educate you about unified communications technologies, and help you make informed decisions about unified communications solutions.
UCStrategies.com defines unified communications as “Communications integrated to optimize business processes.” The definition of unified communications narrows significantly when you can read and hear about real-world examples that other companies are implementing right now—and apply them to your situation.
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This section provides a practical, vendor-independent service to any Enterprise that is seeking the benefits of Unified Communications. How do you pull everything together to implement unified communications? Use the tools in this sequence to define unified communications for your business.
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The new NET VXe Series Voice Switches are now generally available. The new VXe Series incorporates a number of enhancements, as described here in my October 2 preview article. The announcement headlines “Features to reduce costs and increase ease of deployment.” The preview article describes a significant list of those capabilities.
But wait, there’s more – beyond the NET VXe Voice Switch capabilities. The NET Voice Switches solve a huge challenge of migration support and facilitation in the dynamic Unified Communications market. Migration is a costly and risky problem! Let’s see how NET VXe Voice Switches solve the problem.
So, what is the migration problem, you ask? Almost every enterprise will face the problem of migration in the next few years, if they have not faced it already. While there are a few cases where all users are brand new users at a totally new site (known as a “Greenfield” site), the much more common case has some users on a new IP PBX or new Unified Communications system while the others remain on the existing PBX(s).
The problem, therefore, is to allow the movement of just the selected users, with their associated numbers, to the new system without (a) expensive or complex changes by the telephony carrier and without (b) difficult restrictions such as requiring that all Direct Inward Dial (DID) numbers, extensions and users in a specific 100-number block must move to the new system.
In addition, there is often a problem connecting both old and new voice systems to a single applications server such as a voice mail or a conferencing system. It makes no sense to tell users on one system to use one resource and others to use another. In fact, most companies want all users to have access to the productivity benefits of a new unified messaging, conferencing or UC server even while they still economically utilize their existing, low-TCO telephone infrastructure.
The new NET Voice Switches, including the new VXe Series, offer a very attractive solution to these problems, through “Directory-based Call Routing.” The NET Voice Switch is pointed to a Microsoft Active Directory (AD) server or an LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol) directory server. The NET Voice Switch then synchronizes with the directory server to keep a current copy of the enterprise dial plan, mapping Direct Inward Dial (DID) and Extension Numbers to the correct target system, using SIP-based Universal Resource Identifiers stored in the directory. Changes to the dial plan or moving and reassigning some users from an existing system to a new system is then as easy as changing individual or group settings in the directory.
In addition, the directory information is cached in the NET Voice Server, so the solution is robust and resilient, independent of the directory system reliability. If your company has very tight restrictions on use of the LDAP or AD servers and schema, the simple deployment of a dedicated directory server for dial plan support would economically bypass this restriction.
With this approach, incoming trunks and calls, whether via TDM (T1/E1 formats) or SIP connections, are automatically routed to the correct destinations by the NET Voice Switch, without complex adjustments of carrier configurations (such as trying to move just one number out of a 100-number DID block) and without having to reconfigure the existing PBX. Calls can be coming to a TDM phone on the existing switch one evening and with a simple directory change and synchronization to the NET Voice Switch, will be arriving at the new IP telephony system within minutes, ready for the next day’s work. No more “slash cuts.” Of course, this routing can include multiple existing and multiple new systems from an single set of NET Voice Switches.
Similarly, the VX Voice Switch can intercept call coverage to voice mail and, with a directory change, deliver those calls to a new Unified Messaging system.
The benefits are pretty obvious, and compelling. The NET Voice Switches can, of course, be justified by trunk consolidation and reduction across multiple systems as well as by conversion to SIP trunk services. Yet, beyond that justification, the NET Voice Switches provide administrative simplicity, economy and flexibility during any migration period, a period that might range from a few months to even many quarters or years.
Meanwhile, all the features and benefits described in the October article are part of the package. A close look is definitely recommended if you have any communication system migrations in your future.
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Communications Integrated to Optimize Business Processes.
UC integrates real-time and non-real time communications with business processes and requirements.
Uses presence capabilities for coordination, and presents a consistent unified user interface and experience across multiple devices and media types.
Learn more at What is Unified Communications all about?